The reasons why Jony Ive, the legendary chief designer, left Apple

An anticipated book will shed light on what happened to Apple after the death of Steve Jobs. The latest New York Times article aptly focuses on the events that alienated Jony Ive, Apple’s legendary chief designer.

Jony Ive and Tim Cook during the iPhone XR presentation in 2018 // Source: Apple

If you didn’t follow Apple’s news, knowing that an anticipated book will come out this week, it’s called: After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost a Soul. You can find it for 25 euros on Amazon France.

This is a book written by a New York Times journalist, Tripp Mickle, that tells of the evolution of Apple after the death, in 2011, of its founder Steve Jobs. The title clearly suggests the overall tone of the book, and apparently accurately represents the thinking of Jony Ive, the legendary designer at the head of the company, which ultimately led to his decision to leave to start his own company. .

While waiting to get his hands on this book, Tripp Mickle published an article in the NYT (” How to win over Apple technocrats“), based on the book, which focuses precisely on the events that separated Jony Ive from Apple, first philosophically and then more concretely.

Arguments with Tim Cook

The short explanation is that, no matter how much they respect each other, Jony Ive and Tim Cook (now CEO of Apple) see things differently on many key issues.

For Jony Ive, design has always been a top priority, you might say, while Tim Cook has a more pragmatic and approachable approach. Whether we’re talking about the new Mac Studio or the latest MacBooks that have all of these ports (and the memory card reader!), We seem to be far from the designer’s passion for clean and minimalist ones. line of products he makes. It’s one of the most emblematic examples, but the first fractures began in 2014, when the Apple Watch was launched.

The reasons why Jony Ive, the legendary chief designer, left Apple
Apple Mac Studio // Source: Fandroid

For Jony Ive, the Apple Watch should be a luxury product. He envisioned a more luxurious presentation, comparable to a haute couture parade, in a white pavilion worth 25 million dollars. The goal is to appeal to the Vogue reporter more than any other tech pundit. Tim Cook agreed, but up to a point, and a long series of arguments then led to Jony Ive feeling unsupported by his own company for the first time.

Over the years, as we know, the Apple Watch has become a relatively popular and mainstream product, and has become more and more focused on fitness and health, with luxury versions becoming more and more popular.

The Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch Series 7 // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

Tim Cook has always tried to please or please Jony Ive as much as possible, because he fears that his departure will have a serious impact on the value of Apple’s part. At the same time, however, Jony Ive was particularly stressed by the significant increase in his workload following the departure of Steve Jobs, when he became full director of the design division.

Almost overnight, he found himself managing more than 100 employees, out of a group of 20 he had managed over the years. Tim Cook tried to offer a compromise by allowing him to work part-time and from home, leaving day-to-day management duties and focusing only on designing new products. But in the end it didn’t work, and by the end of 2019 the maker of the iPod, iPhone and iPad said goodbye to the company he had worked for since 1992.

Jony Ive also doesn’t want Apple to move to a service company. The chief designer complains that the company hires corporate executives or, as he calls them, ” accountants“. The sad fact is that Jony Ive’s presence isn’t much needed in the new Apple. Even if his work has been instrumental in building Apple’s success, the American team has changed dramatically.

Jony Ive’s lack of interest resulted in the famous meeting to define the final design of the iPhone X. After a three-hour wait, the top twenty software designers presented Jony Ive with the new features of the smartphone. Finally, he left the room without giving feedback to the teams.

The reasons why Jony Ive, the legendary chief designer, left Apple
Apple iPhone X

For now, Jony Ive still works for Apple from his own agency called LoveFrom. But his symbolic client is Ferrari. An electric car could be Jony Ive’s next big thing, but we’ll have to wait until 2025.


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